South African Telephone Pudding

Want more from Genius Kitchen?

Watch on your Apple TV, Roku, or Fire TV and your iOS, Fire, or Android device.

Learn More
“This ancient, delicious dessert got its name this way: in the time of party-line phones (which still exist in some farming areas) this recipe was apparently passed on from cook to cook by phone, and didn't have a proper name. So it became "Telephone Pudding". The recipe is not in our best-known older cookbooks such as "Cook and Enjoy It" (the cooking bible of many young brides!!), and neither could I find it in my considerable stack of old cookbooks, so it's almost lost now!! I was given the recipe by my husband's aunt, who is now 86. Lovely, sinful winter dessert!! Funny method -- but just try it! (It's getting rather tedious to correct the wrong assumptions: Jan 25, 2009: the review comment is wrong. If you want the lovely Roly Poly pudding recipe, it's either South African Roly-Poly Baked Dessert or Nanny's Nursery Baked Jam Roly Poly Pudding. On Feb 6, 2009: Dear reviewer, maybe it tastes vaguely like Malva Pudding, but here is the genuine Malva pudding: Malva Pudding, South African Baked Dessert).”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Heat oven to 350 deg F/180 deg Celsius For convection/fan ovens the heat can be a little lower.
  2. Cream butter and sugar well. (Use castor sugar/superfine sugar to make it easier).
  3. Add the jam and lightly beaten egg to the creamed mixture.
  4. Mix the flour, ginger and salt together.
  5. Mix the baking soda/bicarbonate of soda* into the cup of milk in a roomy bowl.
  6. Whisk the creamed mixture alternately with the dry ingredients into the milk, to form a smooth batter.
  7. To make the syrup, boil the water (using your electric kettle is fastest, then measure into a small pot). Add the sugar, and stir until sugar melts. Add vanilla.
  8. Pour this syrup into an oven dish -- not shallow! Then pour the pudding batter into the boiling syrup.
  9. Bake pudding for about 30 - 45 mins until brown on top and baked through. (Sorry, aunt's recipe is a bit vague on this point).
  10. * Baking soda is better known as bicarbonate of soda in South Africa.

Watch more

Join the Conversation

  • all
  • reviews
  • tweaks
  • q & a